Volume 64 Number 19 
      Produced: Mon, 01 Apr 19 07:05:38 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Dancing at weddings 
    [Martin Stern]
Hebrew Grammar (was Omitting tachanun for a bris) 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Kein yehi ratson 
    [Martin Stern]
Measles vaccinations 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Tachanun after sunset (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Immanuel Burton]
Walking in front of someone during davenning 
    [Lawrence Israel]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 1,2019 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Dancing at weddings

I have always felt that dancing at weddings should take place only when the
chatan and kallah come in and then after benching so that sheva berachot can be
said as early as possible, enabling those who cannot stay late to participate. I
was therefore happy to read in this week's Weekly Halacha Discussion (Tazria) by
Rabbi Doniel Neustadt entitled "Leaving a wedding before Birkas ha-Mazon":

> Question: Is it permitted to leave a wedding or a sheva berachos dinner
> before the recitation of Birkas ha-Mazon and sheva berachos?

He first notes that the poskim differ in their opinion on two points:

> Who is obligated in the mitzvah of sheva berachos


> Exactly when does the obligation of sheva berachos begin

and writes in conclusion:

> Lchatchilah, therefore, it is preferable to stay until the end of the wedding
> or sheva berachos meal and listen to the recitation of the sheva berachos

to which he appends the footnote:

> It is correct, therefore, to schedule most of the dancing at a wedding after
> Birkas ha-Mazon, so that those who must leave should be able to participate in
> the sheva berachos; see Sova Semachos, pg. 48.

though he regrets that

> It is, however, not customary to do so.

Is not the custom of extended dancing causing a late finish a case of
putting a michshol lifnei iver?

Martin Stern


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 25,2019 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Hebrew Grammar (was Omitting tachanun for a bris)

Martin Stern (MJ 64#18), writing about his grandsons' birth 40 years ago and
Tachanun issues, wrote:

> Their britot were delayed..... 

If twin boys are born and there is not going to be a single brit milah (bris)
but two separate ones, in Yiddish, so far as I know, one says brissim.  (Like
Taleisim, while in Hebrew, we say Tallitot)
It has always struck me as odd that in Hebrew one says britot, using the
feminine plural ending for a procedure that is uniquely masculine in our
culture.  But, grammar has never been my strong point. (Not sure I have a strong
point, actually)

What is the plural of Tehillah (meaning psalm)?   Is it Tehillim as in Sefer
Tehillim?  Is it Tehillot as in "Norah Tehillot, Oseh Feleh"?

Martin's submission also reminded me of the joke of a guy who goes to India on
business and is hosted by a Maharajah who shows him around.  The guest, upon his
return home, sends the Maharajah a thank you note. 

In the note, apart from thanking his host for his hospitality, he says, "I
particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I would
greatly appreciate it if you could send me two mongooses."  

Then he thinks, "Mongooses doesnt sound right" and changes the note to "I
particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I would
greatly appreciate it if you could send me two mongeese."  

This also sounded wrong, grammatically.  So, a third version of the note was penned.
"I particularly enjoyed your showing me that curious animal, the mongoose.  I
would greatly appreciate it if you could send me one or, if it is not too much
trouble, even two."
Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 25,2019 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Kein yehi ratson

In previous postings, I have drawn attention to the apparently significant
occurrence of fifteen in our liturgy (MJ 63#19, 06, 62#36,34,32,30 et al.) as
indicating a rise in kedushah.

This is manifested especially in birkhat kohanim which contains precisely
fifteen words (3 in the first verse, 5 in the second and 7 in the third), and
sixty letters (15 in the first verse, 20 = 15+5 in the second and 25 = 15 + 10
in the third), making a total of 60 = 4x15.

I have also raised a question about the apparently anomalous response "Kein yehi
ratson", specifically why the word "ratson [will]" is used without specifying to
whose "will" it refers.

I noticed that in it, the first letters of the three words kaf, yod and reish
have gematria 20, 10 and 200 respectively. When multiples of ten are discarded
to obtain their mispar katan, this produces 2 [2(0)], 1 [1(0)] and 2 [2(00)],
making a total of 5. Since this response is said three times, this produces a
total of 15!

Though it does not answer my problem with "ratson", since the same would apply
equally to "retsono [His will]" or "ratsonekha [Your will]", it may be
suggestive of some deeper significance.

"Kein yehi ratson" is only said when no kohanim ascend the duchan. In the latter
case the tzibbur responds "amen" instead. Applying a similar analysis to it, we
also get a surprising result. Its letters alef, mem and nun have gematrias 1, 40
and 50, respectively, and therefore mispar katan 1, 4 and 5 making a total of
10. Again, this response is said three times, this produces a total of 30 = 2x15!


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 28,2019 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Measles vaccinations

There is currently a serious measles outbreak in Rockland County where Monsey
along with some other Haredi and Chassidic enclaves are located.

Can someone explain the rationale for parents to reject science and refuse to
vaccinate their children, thus exposing the children to dreadful diseases, and
potentially exposing others as well? Does their refusal have any halachic basis?
Or, on the contrary, is there a halachic obligation to vaccinate one's children
(except in the few cases where they may be allergic to components of the vaccine
or have some other medical counterindication)?

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 24,2019 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Tachanun after sunset

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#18):

> I have noticed there seems to be a strong aversion to saying tachanun in 
> certain (mainly chassidic) circles and any excuse is used to omit it.
> One of these is that they claim that it is forbidden to say tachanun after
> sunset - something unheard of in earlier generations in Central Europe. Can
> anyone supply a halachic (as opposed to chassidic) source for this practice?
> Since tachanun is intrinsically linked to shemoneh esrei, does this custom 
> apply at minchah, according to those who follow it, even if the shemoneh  
> esrei (or at least the chazarat hashatz) was started before sunset though it 
> was not concluded until after it?

When I davened once at a Viznitz shtibel in Monsey, NY, I noticed they skipped
tachanun for no apparent reason. So I asked why? The answer was that the beit
din of Hashem (the Heavenly Tribunal) starts at midnight and goes through the
morning so it has finished by noon.

That's why tachanun is said in the morning, to supplicate the dayanim (judges) of
God's beit din while they are in session and judging us.

So why would one want to say tachanun in the afternoon when the court is not in
session? - You'ld be "awakening" the judges from their "recess" by calling
attention to your shortcomings by saying tachanun. Thus, don't say
tachanun and you'll stay out of trouble!

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 26,2019 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Tachanun after sunset

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 64#18):

An initial search on Halachapedia

turned up the following regarding tachnun at a late mincha:

If one reaches tachanun after sunset, there is debate amongst the poskim 
if it should be recited.

The sources cited are:

The Mishneh Brura (131:17) holds one should say it. Rav Avigdor Neventzal in
BeYitzhak Yikareh on Mishna Brura (footnote to 131) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach who thinks one should not.

Given that tachanun is not said at night (Shulchan Aruch OC 131:3), does this
debate depend on whether one considers the time between sunset and nightfall to
be night or not?

The Kitzur Shulcah Aruch (69:8) says that if mincha lasted until nightfall, then
tachanun is not said.

A former colleague of mine, Shloime Sternlicht o"h, once commented to me that
tachnun must be a very powerful prayer as there is a very strong inclination not
to recite it.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Lawrence Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 24,2019 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Walking in front of someone during davenning

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#18): 

> The Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 102:4) rules that one may not walk in front of
> someone davening shemoneh esrei until he has finished, mainly because it will
> distract him from his concentration (Mishnah Berurah s.k.15). Many people are
> unfortunately unaware of this halachah.
> However, I have noticed recently that some people seem to have extended this
> prohibition to passing in front of someone who has finished davening, and taken
> three steps back, who is waiting for the shatz to begin his repetition. They
> ask him to step forward so that they can go behind him rather than pass in
> front of him.
> Does anyone know any source for this stringency?

And what about those who come in late and station themselves at the doorway or
in the aisle, so that anyone else coming in a bit later have no choice but to
pass in front of them if they wish to enter?


End of Volume 64 Issue 19